Almost 15 percent of the American population suffers from hearing loss. The only way that you can be diagnosed with hearing loss – temporary or permanent – is by seeking hearing tests with an audiologist. The diagnosis of hearing loss takes a couple of hours during an appointment, and there are five different tests that your audiologist could perform, which are:

  • Otoacoustic emissions
  • Middle ear test
  • Speech test
  • Auditory brainstem response
  • Pure-tone test.

Let’s go through them all.

Otoacoustic emissions

Otoacoustic emissions are the sounds that are given off by the inner ear. This occurs when the cochlea is stimulated by various noises. These emissions can be measured, and this can help to narrow down the type of hearing loss that you are experiencing. Your audiologist will measure these emissions with a small probe inserted into the canal of the ear. Don’t worry; it won’t hurt.

Middle ear test

Your audiologist will need to check how your middle ear is functioning. Air pressure is pushed into the ear canal to make the eardrum vibrate. The acoustic reflex measures can give your audiologist information about where the hearing impairment is located. They’ll be able to identify whether your eardrum has perforated during this test.

Speech test

One of the ways that you know your hearing is going is the fact you are struggling to hear people speaking in groups. A speech test asks you to listen to conversation in noisy and quiet environments to determine how much you can hear. The ability to repeat words back will be recorded during the test by your audiologist.

Auditory brainstem response

During this test, electrodes are placed on the head and your brain waves will be recorded. The auditory brainstem response provides information to your audiologist about the inner ear and the brain pathways for hearing.

Pure-tone test

This particular hearing test can test what range of pitches you can hear. You’ll wear headphones and hear tones at different pitches, and your audiologist will ask you to push a button whenever you hear a sound. Each ear is tested individually for the most accurate results and so your audiologist can tell how bad the hearing is in each ear. At the end of this test, you’ll have the results fed back to you and told how severe your hearing loss is.

At the start of your appointment, a conversation about your background and lifestyle will have occurred, which can help your audiologist to determine exactly which tests would be right for you and your situation. There’s no need to worry about hearing tests because they are not painful. If you are feeling anxious about the tests themselves or having any worries about the results, then you should voice your concerns to your audiologist. They will be only too happy to reassure you and walk you through the tests first. Your hearing test may not include every single test on the list, and your audiologist will explain why you are having each test done in the first place.